Staying safe online

We want you to stay safe while online, whether or not you participate in this study. If you keep your devices safe, you can minimize the risk that someone will view your personal information and could use that information to harm you. Here are some tips for staying safe online:

Malware and hacker protection

Hackers can attack your computer and steal your information. Make sure that you have an antivirus programme installed, a firewall activated, and never open email attachments from people you don’t know and trust. If your phone or computer are acting strangely, the battery dies more quickly than usual, and they get very hot, someone may be monitoring your device. If you want to know more about staying safe online, have a look at Tactical Tech’s ‘Security in a Box’ information.

Shared devices

Staying safe when sharing devices with friends, colleagues, or family members; or while using a public device at an internet café or computer lab, can be a problem. Make sure nobody can watch your screen. Clear your browsing history when you are done, and don’t forget to log out of any social media sites or accounts you may have used.

Using VPNs

If you are worried about anyone tracking you online, you can use a 'VPN’ (Virtual Private Network). A VPN helps you get your information safely to and from your computer (called encryption), and it hides your real location so you can’t be traced, allowing you to browse online anonymously. There are many VPN software options available for download online.

Clearing your browser history

Clearing your browser history is especially important when other people use the same devices as you, but you should regularly do it if you visit websites that could tell people private information about you, such as your sexual orientation or gender identity.

Passwords and pins

Passwords and pin numbers are really important for your safety, especially when you are sharing devices. Make sure all your devices have random passwords with letters, numbers, and special characters. Sentences work well, too. The more difficult, the better. Use a different password for every device and for each platform/email address/website you use. That will make it easier for you to maintain your privacy, even if your computer is hacked or if your phone is stolen. Make sure you log out of accounts when you are done with your session. You can find various password manager apps online that make it easier for you to have and store complicated passwords.

Finding a safe space

Be careful to find a location where you can access the internet and apps in privacy. Ideally this is a place without distractions and where others cannot view your screen without you knowing. Be aware that the use of reading apps or assistive devices that use audio can cause a lack of privacy. If you need to leave the survey to do something else before you have finished, make sure to lock the screen/device so no one else can view what you were working on.